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Refused Italian residency

By Gareth Horsfall
This article is published on: 8th August 2023

Living in Italy always feels like a great privilege for me. I never expected that a ‘lad’ from Yorkshire would be having the opportunity to live the life I now do. Of course, it comes with it’s issues and there are many people who, every year, also make the decision to want to come and live in ‘Il bel paese‘.

However, as I have found out this year, there are those who also get refused this opportunity when they have applied for ‘residenza elettiva’. (elective residence in which you demonstrate to the Italian ‘Consolato Generale d’Italia’, that you have the financial resources, now and in the future, to be able to live your life in Italy without becoming a burden on the Italian state). There are certain criteria which you must meet, such as minimum income levels and financial independence.

Since Brexit, of course, many UK citizens who previously only had to trot off to their local comune and register as residents in Italy, under their EU citizen rights, are now subject to much stricter assessment of their financial affiars before a visa will be granted to enter the country and life begin in Italy.

Over the years I have met many people (US citizens mainly) who have been through the elective residence process and managed to get the necessary visa to come and live in Italy. I also learned that many managed to do so without meeting the strictest financial requirements. Instead with some help and understanding of the types of accounts they held in the US they were able to assist the consulate in assessing their application, at which point the elective residency was granted.

italian visa refused

The people I have met this year (all Brits) who have been refused the elective residency visa were refused due to failure to strictly adhere to the rules. (Strict adherence to rules not being something that Italians are famous for).

This is quite sad to see because, firstly it could be said that the British citizen might be treated unfairly due to Brexit. There is no evidence to suggest this. It is merely a hunch, but one which is shared with a few other professionals with whom I have been in touch about this. Secondly, there are certainly the rules, but interpretation is everything and as you will see from reply from the Consolato below, certain assumptions have been made by the assessor regarding this specific application which could be argued to be true and fair, but would still not affect this persons ability to live comfortably in Italy without being a burden on the state. (I can attest to this as I conducted an initial financial planning exercise with them) It would seem the absolute letter of the law is being applied here when in fact merely the extracted statement below from the legislation itself gives a significant amount of discretion to the assessor.

‘Il visto per residenza elettiva potrà essere esteso anche al coniuge convivente, ai figli minori o maggiorenni se conviventi e a carico e ai propri genitori, qualora le condizioni finanziarie suddette siano sufficienti a garantire il mantenimento di tutti i soggetti interessati.’

The point to this E-zine is to say that this application was likely refused because the application was not prepared with the help of an Italian professional (lawyer and commercialista) who could a) interpret the foreign held accounts for the assessor/s and explain how they function and b) provide a signed and certified overview that would be seen by the Italian authorities as more credible than merely statements from the applicant themselves.

I hope that if you, or someone you know is going through or about to go through the elective residence process then you can pass this E-zine and message to them. Take professional advice (lawyer and /or a commercialista) before submitting the application. Once granted then financial planning is also critical.

The applicant mentioned in the letter text below is being contested directly with the Consolato Generale d’Italia, now with legal help, but this could take up to 2 years. It might have been avoided ( possibly not) if professional help had been sought at the start.

Please feel free to pass the E-zine onto anyone you may know who this affect or of whom it might be interest to. The more we spread the word the less likely mishaps and refusals will occur in the future.

Italian Embassy London

Harp House,
83-86 Farringdon St,
London EC4A 4BL,
United Kingdom


“As per Art. ,comma 2 of T.U. 286 modified by Law 30 July 2OO2 n.l-89, and Art. 6-bis of D.P.R. l-8 October 2004 n. 334 regarding visa denials, we regret to inform you that your recent application for an Elective Residence visa has been denied because unfortunately, at this point in time, it does not comply with the minimum conditions required for the issuance of such a visa.

To date, all the documentation provided with your applications do not currentlv illustrate that vou have immediate access to the minimum required economical and financial resources necessary lo guarantee continuity through time from a proven, steady & substantial income stream/s deriving from pensions, annuities, properties or other types of regular income declared in the UK ( with the “Tabello A’ Direttivo Ministero dell’lnterno dated March 7’t, 2000 ond as per D.l. 850/2077, i.e. startinq from a net amount of 37,000 euro per person), meaning not cash in the bank, savings, unrealised profits from investments subject to volatility and/or private income deriving from employment. It is worth highlighting that this office has carefully examined your recent applications, by comparing them with your previous ones; i.e. denials ref: XXXXXXXX prot n. XXXXX issued on the XXXXXX.2022 respectively, with the view to gauge if there have been any new and/or substantial changes in both your economic and financial circumstances to be considered when granting the issuance of such visa.

Unfortunately, when taking into consideration both your eligible proven and steady income streams guaranteeing continuity through time that you have provided to date i.e. combined net full pensionable entitlements from both state and private pensions (including future increases in net state pension and the potential volatility in exchange rates), we regret to inform you that,at this point in time, you do not meet the minimum conditions required for such a visa.

ln fact in particular, it appears that in the case of Mrs.XXXXX, she is yet still to reach State pensionable age (XXXX); with her only current source of income, coming from a yearly drawdown payments of circa £XXXXX per annum (subject to tax, effective from the XXXXX). These appear to be generated from a portfolio of pension investments that are in turn subject to volatility. and which unlike an annuity, do not offer a guaranteed, steady & substantial income stream that guarantees continuity through time.

As for Mr. XXXXXXX even in consideration of potential annual gross increases of 5% in line with RPl to his private and state pensions, his total net income, is unlikely to reach, at this point in time, the minimum levels required when granting the issuance of such visa.

Furthermore, in response to the letter dated XXXXXX from your legal representatives, we would like to clarify lhat, “the annual passive income requirement of €31,000 plus 20% for the dependent spouse” they have made reference to, is NOT applicable for this type of visa (i.e. elective residency), but rather to other types.

For clarification purposes, the minimum nef amount, for elective residency visas applications, starts from a guaranteed minimum of €31,000 per applicant. We appreciate that since BREXIT, you may have experienced limitations towards visa free travel arrangements previously enjoyed, but would like to remind you that, as British citizens you may still travel to the Schengen area visa free up to 90 out of 180 days. You have the right to appeal this decision by filing a formal appeal with the assistance of an attorney to the “Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio” in Rome within 60 days from receipt of this Notice. To be valid, the appeal must be notified to the Avvocatura dello Stato (General Attorney) according to the Article !44 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Article LL of the Royal Decree no 1,61,1/1933.”

Kind Regards,
Visa Office Consulate Generale of ltaly in London

If you would like to discuss this or any other content I have posted online, or merely to discuss your financial situation for life in Italy, then please do not hesitate to get in touch:
Tel: +393336492356 or
I would be happy to try and help where I can. 

Article by Gareth Horsfall

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